“Trials of Converts in India”

BIPOC Voices in the Victorian Periodical Press

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IN our last Number we adverted to the trials and bitter persecutions which converts from Hinduism have to endure at the hands fo their own friends and relatives; and we introduced the Rev. B. Geidt's account of a young Brahamin convert at Burdwan as illustrative of this. We now add another case, that of Shrinath Ghose. The account is contained in a letter from the Rev. Jagadishwar Bhattachargya, of the Free Church of Scotland, Calcutta, to a lady in Edinburgh.

In my last letter I mentioned to you that there was a very hopeful inquirer with me, who would soon come forward to enter into the church of Christ by baptism. He did come, and was received into the church on the first Sabbath of the year. But what has happened to him since will extremely grieve you to hear, as it did me and all my friends.

Shortly after his baptism, Shrinath—for that is the young man's name—was sent up to Bansbaria, that he might remain with me during our vacation, or accompany me to a preaching tour if I went into the interior. The day after his arrival his mother came to see him, and oh, what a scene took place that morning—a scene one does not like to witness if he can help it! With slow and trembling steps the mother entered our Mission compound, and the moment she saw her son she flung herself upon his neck, and set up a most terrible howling. Her cries, her shrieks, the beating of her breast, and tearing her hair, drew floods of tears from the spectators who stood around the afflicted parent and her son.

After her feelings had a little subsided, she urged every argument and entreaty in her power to persuade her son to go back to heathenism; but finding they were ineffectual, she stretched herself on the bare ground, and raised another most piteous howling; at which the friends who accompanied her from her village conveyed her to a quiet place, and endeavored to comfort her.

It appears, next day she went to her village, with a view evidently to consult with her friends and relatives how she might best take away Shrinath from us. After a week, she returned with some men, and made an attempt to carry him away by force. The second day she repeated almost the very same things she did in her first interview—the same sort of howling, the same arguments and entreaties as before, and with the same success, for she was unable to shake the resolution of her son. Her design was to decoy him into the public street, that she might have an opportunity to carry him away into her village; but in this she was also disappointed.

Perceiving her wicked intentions, I thought it prudent to remove Shrinath from this place, and accordingly the next morning I took him down to Calcutta, and put him in the Mission-house with our native brethren. Scarcely three days have elapsed. Behold the mother maketh her appearance thither, and, by her fair but false professions, completely disarmed all suspicions from the mind of her son regarding her designs. Her proceedings there were managed with such deep and consummate subtlety as to deceive the most wary and experienced. No wonder, then, that Shrinath, a youth of twenty, should fall into her snare. She first took a lodging near the Mission premises, and frequently came to see her son, and allowed him to do the same without molestation. Shrinath, at first, never went to see her without being accompanied by one or two of the brethren. After a week, she removed her lodging to a place about a mile distant from the convert's premises, and desired her son to visit her there as often as he liked. Shrinath visited her once or twice in her new abode, accompanied by a Mission servant, and came back without suspecting any bad motive in her. The last time he went to see her he was seized, and forcibly carried away to his native village, and is to this moment detained in her custody. It appears she collected some of her friends that are in Calcutta, and, by their assistance, effected her purpose. Shrinath is now a close prisoner, through no chains are put on him. He is not allowed the liberty to come out of the house, but must remain confined in the zenana, or inner department. No person can have access to him without a special permission from the mother: no message can reach him without it being first made known to her. Day and night he is closely watched.

You can easily conceive what must have been my feelings when I heard of this transaction. Immediately I went down to Calcutta to consult with Mr. Mackay, and other European friends, what steps should be adopted for the rescue of the new convert. Many of them advised me not to take any legal measures, but to leave the whole case in his hands of Providence, trusting that the Lord will deliver him in His own time.

After my return from Calcutta, I sent a private message to Shrinath, but unfortunately it could not be delivered. At present I see no means of his immediate deliverance, unless the Lord, in His infinite mercy, interpose on behalf of His servants.

By all the reports hitherto reached me, I exceedingly rejoice to learn that Shrinath is continuing firm in faith, and bearing testimony to "the truth as it is in Jesus" in the midst of all his trials.

Hindu converts sacrifice much that they may be wholly for Christ. What sacrifices do we make as evidences of our thankfulness that, in following out the convictions of our conscience, we have no such difficulties and hindrances to contend against? Is the knowledge of salvation through a Saviour's blood a treasure which we prize? and are we proving the value we set upon it by the diligent efforts we are making to bring that treasure within the reach of others?


Digital Publication Details

Title: “Trials of Converts in India”

Creator(s): Anonymous; Jagadishwar Bhattachargya

Publication date: (1853) 2022

Digital publishers: One More Voice, COVE

Critical encoding: Kenneth C. Crowell, Cassie Fletcher, Jocelyn Spoor, Adrian S. Wisnicki

One More Voice identifier: liv_026024

Cite (Chicago Author-Date): Anonymous, and Jagadishwar Bhattachargya. (1853) 2022. “Trials of Converts in India.” Edited by Kenneth C. Crowell, Cassie Fletcher, and Jocelyn Spoor. In “BIPOC Voices,” One More Voice, solidarity edition; Collaborative Organization for Virtual Education (COVE). https://onemorevoice.org/html/bipoc-voices/digital-editions-amd/liv_026024_HTML.html.

Rights: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Accessibility: One More Voice digital facsimiles approximate the textual, structural, and material features of original documents. However, because such features may reduce accessibility, each facsimile allows users to toggle such features on and off as needed.